The Importance of Touch - IWC Portugieser Hand Wound 75th Anniversary
I have always believed that touch is the best way to evaluate a watch. You could stare at the specifications of a watch all day and have an internal debate about how the case diameter, thickness and lug-to-lug measurements would translate to how well it would fit on your wrist, and how the complications would add to your enjoyment of the watch. Then when the opportunity presents itself for you to actually see the watch in real life, a lot of the time it would turn out to be mediocre at best or an utter disappointment at worst.
Until very recently, I have always tried to avoid buying a watch sight unseen (or at least without checking out an equivalent example of the same model) as more often than not it would result in disappointment. With the recent surge in demand in the watch market and the relative scarcity of some pieces, this practice may not always be possible these days. However, I do maintain that the best way to help inform a purchase decision is to put the watch on your wrist. If it gives you the feeling that you don’t want to take it off, then perhaps it is time for the credit card to come out. Certain watches would give one that feeling, the X-factor so to speak, and I am sure most seasoned collectors would know what I am talking about. For me, one of the most distinct instances that I have experienced this would be with the IWC Portugieser Hand Wound 75th Anniversary.
Ever since the beginning of my collecting journey, I have been fascinated by IWC. From the workhorse caliber 89 from the 60s, the funky Aquatimers of the 70s, the beginning of high complications in the 80s, to the Scafusia Destriero of the 90s, IWCs of all eras never fail to captivate me. Some of my favourite watches from IWC would be the Portugieser, in particular the Portuguese Jubilee 5441 from the 90s and the original reference 325. When the Portugieser Hand Wound 75th Anniversary (510205) was first announced, I did not expect myself to like it but I was interested in checking it out in the metal. So you can imagine the surprise I had when I tried it on and the watch absolutely spoke to me.
The watch doesn't quite make me feel like I'm wearing a historical 325, but rather a watch with the styling of a vintage watch whilst keeping the benefits of modernities such as water resistance, 7-day power reserve and contemporary manufacturing standards.
One of the reasons I have not been drawn to this watch on paper is that I have never been a fan of large watches. Most of my watches are sub-40mm with maybe one or two at a maximum of 42mm. Surprisingly even at 43mm diameter and 12mm thickness, I found this piece to be quite wearable. Perhaps not as a daily driver but I'd strap it on quite regularly. The good thing about the long power reserve is you only need to wear it once a week and won't have to set the time again (but you do have to wind it).
When the 325 first came out, it was meant to represent the best the brand has to offer to the Portuguese merchants. In my opinion, with this 75th Anniversary piece, we also have one of the best that came out of the IWC manufacture in recent years, and the "International Watch Co." script logo on the dial reminds us all of where it all originated.